This is the first blog after 4 years of absence.
Sonia’s Smile is still on Haworth Main Street, still profitable, the same ethos and mainly the same suppliers.
During that time, countless businesses in the village have changed hands, some more than once.
Visitors arriving on a crowded, sunny weekend envy our lifestyle and imagine themselves having a prosperous future living out their dreams, turning their hobby into a business perhaps or employing staff while they travel around sourcing stock.
The Country too has changed. Becoming a sad, divided nation arguing and afraid, Brexit is the poisonous carrot dangled in front of the nose of those who are dissatisfied, promising a better future, taking control and going it alone.
The reality is yes, Haworth is a wonderful place to live and work but it’s not the honeypot some may imagine. Luckily, profit for Sonia’s Smile has never been the bottom line. The purpose is far more important than that, it’s about valuing the producers and artisans, Fair Trade is working in partnership to help them to achieve a better life. In doing so we have been able to stay comfortably in business and donate substantial amounts to causes in line with our ethos.
If our country were to do the same, and focus on working alongside others, seeing what is best for the world not just for themselves, success for all would follow.
At the time of writing, everything is uncertain but we are the fortunate, and very wealthy ones.
Today is World Fair Trade Day and although we have no planned events, we will be mentioning it whenever possible and remembering those on whose behalf we are trying to be an ‘agent for change’.
£100 has been donated for the people in Nepal, small change really considering the enormity of the disaster, we shall continue to raise funds.
After this week-end we shall be handing over the keys for a week to Christian Aid for their pop-up shop again.
Each year on the second Saturday of May, the WFTO celebrates World Fair Trade day.
This year we shall be promoting prayer flags and fairy doors, then donate the profits to try and help those in Nepal.
Sadly, some of my suppliers are reporting either bad news of a death or no news from remote villages where the worst is feared. Many businesses will inevitably change because of this devastating event hundreds of miles away.
We are all connected.
Much of the stock in Sonia’s Smile is from Nepal. Lovely woollies, felt bags and hats and more recently, colourful satchels and rucksacks.
Nepal has been through some really difficult times with the borders being closed down and no planes allowed in or out, electricity restricted to a few hours each day.
Just when things were improving they are hit with the devastating earthquake, killing and injuring thousands.
I value all the things in my shop, not for the cost but for the fact that they have been made by skilled craftspeople, paid a fair price to help them live a decent life. Life in Nepal is precarious and my thoughts are with the families, hoping that they can pick themselves up and get back to some sort of normal as they have done many times before.
Again, we are reminded of how wealthy we are.
A new attraction at the shop arrived in November, this is Yoko. She is 5 months old now and gets a great deal of attention.
We had the most brilliant day in Haworth when the cyclists passed within inches of the shop!
Prior to the Grand Depart, we made our own little video with bananas struggling to reach the top.
Check it out here
After almost 12 years of being declared the first Fairtrade village in the world we have two ‘boundary signs’ as people enter the village from Cross Roads and West Lane.
The success of this welcome is mainly down to the dedication of Chris Upton. We believe this obviously simple way to spread the word is long overdue.
Haworth, BIG HILLS, BIG HEART, BIG ON FAIRTRADE
The pop-up shop was a huge success with a brilliant £1,721 raised. The money will be used by Christian Aid and will benefit many of those who need it most but the value of the shop is much more than this.
The 1940’s week-end, this year blessed with gorgeous weather, brings thousands to the street and amongst all the costumes and dramas, a reminder of how fortunate we are is incredibly important but apart from that the camaraderie inside the shop with the helpers spending time with each other and the public, made for a special few days.
Despite the fact that it took just a few hours to empty my stock but several days to get it back up and running, I am happy offer the shop again next year, I hope they want it.
Sonia’s Smile will become a Christian Aid pop-up shop next week 14th -18th May. The stock will be moved out and the walls painted, corners swept, windows polished and then for a few days the local Churches Together group will be taking up residence to raise money for Christian Aid week.
Christian Aid was one of the founder members of the Fairtrade Foundation along with CAFOD, Traidcraft, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, World Development Movement and Oxfam so a fitting use of the space. This covers the 1940’s w/e when the village is inundated by thousands of visitors celebrating the war years and the military so it’s a crucial reminder for peace and love, and help, for those Countries today torn apart by conflict.